(BPT) - Crab legs for a birthday. Scallops for an anniversary. Salmon for when family are in town. Many people enjoy eating seafood at restaurants as it is a favorite choice for celebratory meals. However, when it comes to cooking seafood at home, it can be intimidating. Seafood — fish and shellfish — is surprisingly simple to cook with a few tips and tricks.
"Seafood is easy, delicious and widely available, making it a great option for home cooks," says Linda Cornish, president of Seafood Nutrition Partnership. "Whether it is shellfish or a fillet of your favorite fish variety, seafood makes any day special. Plus, you can feel good about enjoying immune-boosting food rich in vitamins A, B and D, as well as omega-3 fatty acids and minerals such as calcium, selenium, iron, zinc and more."
To help kick up your confidence in the kitchen when cooking seafood, Seafood Nutrition Partnership and its partners from the Eat Seafood America! campaign offer simple kitchen tips:
The 10-minute rule: Measure the fish at its thickest point. Cook it on medium-high (about 375 degrees F) for 10 minutes per inch, turning halfway through the cooking time. That means a thin fish like sole or pollock cooks in about 4-5 minutes while a thicker salmon or tuna steak might be 15 minutes.
Test for the flake: The best way to tell if fish is done is by testing it with a fork: insert it at an angle at the thickest point and twist gently. The fish will flake easily when it’s done, and it will lose its translucent or raw appearance.
Create foil packets: Foil makes cooking seafood and cleanup simple. Choose your seafood, such as shrimp or a piece of fish, and vegetables such as bell pepper, green beans, cherry tomatoes or zucchini. Use a large piece of foil and layer fish on top of veggies, season to taste, add a couple of lemon slices, and add a drizzle of oil before cooking in the oven, on the grill or even campfire.
Steam on the stovetop: Steaming is a popular way to cook shellfish due to its simplicity. Fill a deep pot with 1-2 inches of water, add wire rack and bring to a boil. Add seafood and cover to cook. Seafood like lobster, crab legs and shrimp will turn pink or red when done, so look for the bright color and then enjoy.
Stock up with canned and frozen options: Fill your freezer with seafood when it’s on sale, so there's something always ready to go when meal planning. When you’re at the grocery store, also grab canned seafood that is often a reasonably priced alternative. Then try adding into favorite recipes or toss into salads or pastas for an easy meal that is sustainable and planet-friendly.
Cook once, eat twice: Try doubling recipes to get ahead on cooking and have a dinner or lunch ready for later in the week. Recipes that freeze well, such as chowder or gumbo, are great to double. Also, consider cooking an extra piece of fish to use on a salad or in a sandwich the next day.
Explore grab-and-go options: Try pre-prepped seafood from your local grocery store to just bring home and heat. Instructions are typically on the package but if you have questions, ask the pros at the seafood counter.
Try new recipes: With everyone spending more time at home, it's fun to try new recipes. You can enjoy restaurant-quality seafood dishes at home in a few simple steps. Be inspired with this recipe that can be updated with whatever fish fillets or veggies you have on hand. For a quick one-pan meal, choose vegetables and slice them to cook in about the same time as your fish.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
1/2 acorn squash, cubed
1/2 medium red onion, chunked
2 cups baby multicolored potatoes, halved
1/2 cauliflower head, chunked
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 side of salmon or 4 fillets
1/2 cup pesto
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. On a large sheet pan, place acorn squash, red onions, potatoes and cauliflower. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil. Stir to coat well and place in single layer around the edges of the pan.
3. Add salmon to the sheet pan and spread with about half the pesto.
4. Roast at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes depending on thickness, until salmon is fork tender and fully cooked through.
5. Top with the remaining pesto and serve.
Share your finished seafood dish on social media and tag #EatSeafoodAmerica. For additional simple seafood recipes to try at home visit seafoodnutrition.org.